The rear garden fans out from a patio filled with pots of perennials that echo the border plants, while a Japanese maple near the patio gives the space a sense of volume and is a great place to hang the bird feeder.
The lawn, bordered by a paved mowing strip that makes edging easy, gives the kids and dog space to run. Two extensions of the lawn are partially camouflaged by shrubs: one section contains the trampoline, while the other, concealed by a small island of perennials and shrubs, serves as the dog's comfort station.
The dog was trained to do its business here and nowhere else, which makes cleanup fast and easy.
For privacy, Stacie planted a screen of Leyland cypress along the back lot line. It took six years to fill in, and the trees now block not only the view of her uphill neighbor's house but also the path of airborne weed seeds.
Shrubs, perennials, and grasses pack most of the border between screen plants and the lawn. "It's a fusion garden that looks like a medieval tapestry and shades out weeds," Stacie explains. In the undulating perimeter bed, she experiments with plant combinations.
The bed also serves as a nursery from which plants can be divided and moved into other parts of the garden. The area contains a vegetable bed ― the domain of 9-year-old Trevor, who is rapidly becoming a gardener in his own right.